David Moyes praised the determination and resilience in his West Ham United squad following Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur.
The Irons may not have been at their fluent best against their local rivals, but they did enough to grind out a narrow victory at London Stadium.
Michail Antonio was the hero, volleying home Aaron Cresswell’s left-wing corner, but every player in Claret and Blue gave their all for the cause to keep Spurs at bay and score a win that takes West Ham above their opponents and into the top four.
While UEFA Champions League qualification come the season’s end is a lofty ambition, manager Moyes has challenged his players to maintain their standards and continue to put the pressure on the Premier League’s leading lights.
It is now nine wins and seven clean sheets from 13 games in all competitions this season, including three out of three over the last eight days.
Next up, holders Manchester City visit in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday evening, and the manager is relishing another opportunity to test himself and his players against the best.
If you’d said to me at the start of the week that we’d win all three games and keep three clean sheets, I’d have said that would really difficult to do, as it’s really difficult to win three games in a week, but credit to the players.
I don’t just mean the ones who played today, but also the ones who played in midweek and who have helped.
It’s relentless, isn’t it!
We dug in and it was slightly different to Everton and Genk, but we had our moments. We hit them fast on the break and had chances and didn’t quite make it, but we turned the ball over a bit more than we’d have liked today, given the opposition.
We were playing against teams we’re probably going to be competing with, so it was always going to be a tight game.
Pablo Fornals won the ball back and then his shot went out for a corner, which we scored from, so that’s the way football is, where small things can lead to goals.
We have been very good from set pieces this week and scored quite a lot of goals but, if you look at the few weeks before we hadn’t scored any from them and you thought they’d dried up, so you take it when you get it and we got it today.
What happens when you’re a striker is you need to be able to stick your leg out and hope you get the good fortune and Mick got it, but being in the right spot at the right time is another trait as well.
We are defending well, but I wasn’t saying that after the first two or three games of the season, when I was bemoaning the fact we were conceding a few too many goals.
I think we’re beginning to tighten up a little bit.
We won a lot of games last season like we won this game, and we’ll have to win a lot of games this season, as we might not always be able to be as fluent and open and exciting as we’ve been, but I do think defensively we’ve got stronger.
It was great to see Ben Johnson play so well again, as we’re without Vladimir Coufal and Ryan Fredericks at the moment, so we had to put Ben in and I thought he did terrifically well again.
We want to challenge the top four. I don’t know if we’ll stay there or where we’ll be at the end of the day, but I think the big thing is that it was another win.
That’s two Premier League wins in a row and that’s really difficult to do.
We have got big games coming up and it seems it’s neverending. We’ve got another game in midweek now and we will prepare and see if we can do that as well.
The atmosphere was brilliant inside the stadium.
I was more pleased for the supporters because they’ve seen a good West Ham team. Maybe we weren’t at our fluent best, but we won in midweek and we’ve done it again.
You can hear the supporters singing outside the stadium and it’s all around the place, so let’s hope we can keep it going.